“Keep in mind that you can’t take that many well-educated, highly intelligent people and restrict them to live in an area the size of a football field and not expect some very odd and unusual things to happen.”
So said former Korean War helicopter pilot Ed Ziegler, in a quote that starts off MASHED’s early Gameplay section and gives a hint of what the following pages hold in store.
‘MASH’ is a historical acronym that stands for ‘Mobile Army Surgical Hospital,’ though it was popularized by the M*A*S*H film and television series, which may very well be where you first learned of it. The game acknowledges M*A*S*H as a good source of inspiration for your table, but is not based directly on it, thus avoiding any messy trademark or copyright issues. Instead, MASHED content comes from dozens of historical works and military manuals. Fortunately, since they are the same sources as those used by the M*A*S*H producers, the ‘feel’ of the game can be very much like that of the show itself, mixing light comedy, gallows humor, and mature situations.
The core rules are based on Vincent and Meguey Baker’s Apocalypse World (Meguey is also credited as a developmental editor on this book), and inspired by other Powered by the Apocalypse games such as Jason Morningstar’s Night Witches. If you’re familiar at all with the PbtA engine, you’ll have a good idea of how the rules work.